SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Nearly 300 captains in California’s firefighting agency will be allowed to apply for promotions despite an ongoing cheating investigation, state regulators decided Thursday.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection notified 488 applicants last month that they would have to retake the exam this summer.

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But the State Personnel Board decided to keep the test results because the cheating is believed to have involved only two employees.

Cal Fire spokeswoman Janet Upton said one has been fired and the other demoted from captain to firefighter, though the employees plan to appeal.

One employee accused the other of giving him answers to test questions, said Mike Lopez, president of the union representing state firefighters.

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Cal Fire will have to review each of the remaining employees’ test results once more to make sure there is no sign they cheated, said personnel board spokesman Joe DeAnda. Barring other problems, the board’s decision means 289 employees who passed the test can apply for about 50 available battalion chief positions just in time for the summer firefighting season, Lopez said.

Seven battalion chiefs who already won promotions based on the test will also be allowed to keep their jobs.

The announcement comes three years after a much broader cheating scandal that rocked the department’s training academy.


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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.